American Airlines Expands VIP Service Offerings to Competitor Hubs, Music Destinations
Last-minute business travelers and first-class flyers are by far the most profitable passengers in the plane, so many airlines focus on attracting and serving these high-value customers. American Airlines' efforts include utilizing the company's ultra-premium Airbus A321T aircraft type on premium markets, adding one-off flights to music and film festivals and adding healthier food options after getting feedback from the entertainment industry.
For passengers who find first/business class doesn't provide enough perks, however, AA offers a VIP experience called Five Star Service. This paid service offers passengers perks like priority check-in -- including access to Flagship First Check-In, where available -- expedited security screening, access to the Admirals Club, an escort to and from the gate, priority boarding and priority re-accommodation status.
Five Star Service is only available at select airports and only passengers flying in business or first class can buy the add-on.
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Early Thursday morning, American Airlines announced that it has expanded Five Star Service to four new airports. This service is available starting today at three airports with service at a fourth airport beginning next week:
- Austin, Texas (AUS) -- Aug. 1
- Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) -- Aug. 1
- Newark, New Jersey (EWR) -- Aug. 1
- Atlanta (ATL) -- Aug. 9
This expansion increases the number of airports with this premium option to 16 domestic airports and four international airports:
- Domestic: Boston (BOS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York Kennedy (JFK), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), San Francisco (SFO), Washington Reagan National (DCA)
- International: Buenos Aires (EZE), London Heathrow (LHR), Sao Paulo (GRU), Tokyo Narita (NRT)
The cost for Five Star Service is the same at each airport: $350 for the first person and $100 for each additional adult or $50 for passengers 17 and under.
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An even-more-luxurious Five Star Select is available at Chicago O'Hare, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York JFK for $650 for the first person and $150 for each additional adult and $75 per child. This enhanced service also includes access to the Flagship Lounge -- including Flagship First Dining where available -- and a Cadillac or cart transfer to and from the gate.
Passengers can purchase Five Star Service or Five Star Select by calling 877-578-2702 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In its press release about the additions, AA notes it's expanding into these markets based on "analysis of current Five Star customers and their travel patterns."
Interestingly, these markets fall into two clear groups: competitor hubs (Atlanta-Delta and Newark-United) and music destinations. While all four are relatively small markets for American Airlines, each of these markets are enough of a focus for American Airlines that the airline currently operates an Admirals Club.
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This expansion of AA's Five Star Service comes six months after AA announced a partnership with BLADE and The Private Suite LAX. The partnership with BLADE offers all American Airlines passengers the option to pay $350 to be met by an AA representative at the BLADE helipad and be driven to the terminal via Cadillac. This transfer service is available at BLADE locations in Los Angeles (LAX) or New York's Kennedy (JFK).
The partnership with The Private Suite LAX gives passengers the option of bypassing the public airport terminal completely. For $1,200, up to two passengers traveling together in first or business class can complete check-in and clear security at the private terminal before transferring via Cadillac to the terminal, lounge or directly to their gate.